Startup of the Day: MathMaster, a Ukrainian edtech startup

MathMaster was launched in the beginning of 2022. It provides a math service that helps solve math problems thanks to an auto-recognition algorithm and real-time advice from over 1,000 people freelance math experts in online chat. The number of users has already crossed the 10 million mark. In addition, monthly, about 400,000 new users join the service. MathMaster’s product team is entirely Ukrainian, consisting of 60 people.

In the Startup of the Day column, Vitaliі Shatalov, the founder of MathMaster, shares the details about the startup’s idea, its product, and future plans.

The Startup of the Day column on AIN.Capital is dedicated to tech projects from all sectors that originated from the CEE countries. If you would like to introduce your project, please fill in the questionnaire.

Vitaliі Shatalov. Images: MathMaster

Tell us about your startup. How does it work?

MathMaster is a math service that helps solve math problems thanks to an auto-recognition algorithm and real-time, 24/7 advice from freelance math experts in online chat. Users have the opportunity to get fast and accurate step-by-step explanations for a wide variety of mathematical problems. If the algorithm cannot cope with the problem, a mathematical expert is automatically connected to solve it. It’s like Uber for math learners.

The number of users has already crossed the 10 million mark, the application is in the top 5 math Q&A tools in the USA. Such results were achieved during a full-scale invasion.

How did you come up with the startup’s idea? What was the reason/motivation behind it?

Futurra Group, Ukrainian IT company behind MathMaster, managed to build several successful application groups that eventually formed separate business units. So, at the beginning of 2022, after long-term research of various niches, we chose a new vector of Futurra Group – digital education with the flagship application MathMaster.

Having done an in-depth research of the edtech niche, we saw a trend towards a rapid growth of automatic applications-tools for solving mathematical problems. A significant gap between the revenue of the top 3-5 players and all other projects also became evident,

The times of quarantine led to the rapid growth of the edtech market. Online learning tools became extremely popular, and venture capital actively poured money into this area. The trend remains unchanged even after the end of the pandemic. Nevertheless, so far only 5-6% of the entire educational market belongs to digital products: software, online lessons, etc. It is obvious that digitalization of education is promising and will continue to grow in the future.

How long did it take to reach the prototype or MVP? What did you encounter?

Initially, MathMaster had only the functionality of automatic recognition and solving of mathematical problems, but the team decided not to stop there. We wanted to provide a unique offer to users in order to stand out from the competition, so we began to study our competitors in detail and look for their “weak spots”.

We found that automatic solutions from competitors work correctly only for 50-60% of problems, while the rest remain unanswered. This is due to the fact that the user cannot always formulate a request in the correct format, and automatic response algorithms or artificial intelligence will not help in this case. We set an ambitious goal of covering 100% of user requests.

To do this, we decided to focus on live communication between the user and freelance mathematical experts. This is how the main MathMaster feature Expert Chat appeared in the application that allows you to quickly get advice and step-by-step help with any mathematical problem in an online chat 24/7. The user only needs to send a photo of their mathematical problem and receive an answer with an explanation from an expert.

The team of mathematical experts already includes more than 1,000 people. These are usually students of mathematics majors or teachers of mathematics. Good command of English and, of course, deep mathematical knowledge are important criteria for hiring them. Each expert passes a small math exam, training during onboarding and only then is allowed to work with real users.

When exactly did you launch your product? Or when the launch is planned?

The service was launched in the beginning of 2022. The key people of the company finished the final planning of MathMaster late in the evening of February 23, 2022, in order to start implementing the new strategy on the 24th. But in the morning, this plan quickly changed to a plan to urgently evacuate the team from Kyiv. As soon as everyone was safe and moved away from the initial shock, we began to configure business processes in new realities.

Tell us about the startup’s business model. How do you monetize your product?

MathMaster is a cross-platform service (it has iOS, Android and web versions) and works on a subscription model. The price is from $7 per week to $99 per year. For this money, the user will receive more than 90 solutions per month, no ads, and a step-by-step explanation of any problem.

The service also offers in-app purchases. Users have the opportunity to buy additional coins if they run out of free points within the subscription. One coin allows you to solve one problem.

What are your target markets and consumers?

Most of the users of our service are from the USA — almost 80%. Conventionally, the audience of the service can be divided into three main groups: schoolchildren, students and parents who want to help their kids solve mathematical problems.

We set ourselves the goal of creating a convenient tool that will become an alternative to expensive tutoring. A kind of “personal tutor in your pocket,

A personal tutor in the USA is not a cheap pleasure. The cost of their services can reach $200 per hour. This is significantly more expensive than an annual subscription to MathMaster.

If the startup has already launched the product, what are the results: metrics, income, or any clear indicators that can be evaluated.

About 400,000 new users join the service every month. The retention of payers on the 14th day is more than 50%.

What about your team? How many people are working in the startup? If you’re looking for new employees, indicate whom exactly.

The product team is entirely Ukrainian, consisting of 60 people. MathMaster is already a large and complex product, so the team consists of a number of separate units. For example, there is an iOS development team, a web team, and an Android team. A large staff of experts and their hiring is taken care of by the operations team. There are also units of marketers, designers, financiers and analysts.

Moreover, for better operation of the service, 2 auxiliary products were also created:

  • The first one is a platform for the automatic hiring of math experts, which allows the team to very quickly and efficiently onboard new freelancers to cover the demand. Currently, the hiring of experts is fully automated.
  • The second product is MathMinds platform – a workspace for experts. MathMinds distributes experts among users and provides experts with built-in tools to solve problems quickly.

Since the service is growing thanks to digital marketing, a lot of attention is paid to hiring marketers and analysts. We are also always looking for strong technical specialists to implement innovative solutions faster and make MathMaster even more useful.

Have you already raised any investments? Provide us with more details on each funding round: the amount, investors, the purpose of the investment.

Futurra Group is a capital-intensive business: all earned money goes to further scaling and development of new directions. MathMaster was no exception. All profits received from utility applications and other projects go to the development of the mathematical service. It took a little more than $1 million to launch MathMaster. Now, the product is fully paying for itself.

What’s next? Tell us about your future plans.

The company’s goal is to scale and distribute the application not only in the States, but also in the markets of Europe and Asia.

Now, MathMaster handles only English-language user requests, but already has a strategic plan to scale. It will take place due to the introduction of automatic translation technologies of other popular languages (such a step will increase the number of users).